Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Father, Sitting"

"The world breaks everyone and afterward some are strong at the broken places."
~Ernest Hemingway

"Father, Sitting", 30"x 10", oil on canvas, was painted four years ago. My father is an intense person, yet almost painfully sensitive. To say he is complex is an understatement. I wrote awhile ago about my father in "Father, Hospital", which I have included again below. I think that both paintings convey the weight of his personality, or, at least I hope they do. 

With this piece in particular I cropped it in quite closely to accentuate the energy of his personality. He does nothing piecemeal and is never mealymouthed about anything. He is emotional, at times even mercurial. 

I have inherited this trait from my father. I hope to make use of this tendency towards tempestuous feelings within my paintings, because, truthfully, they can really test one's courage to go on. However, wouldn't you rather a roller coaster than a merry-go-round in this life? Would you not rather be more predisposed to sorrow, yet have bliss as a welcome companion too? 

"Father, Sitting" and "Father, Hospital" are heavy paintings to me. I see in my father the human condition in technicolour, in the flurry of emotions that accompany perennial rumination, and the often in the words of T.S. Eliot:

"There is a shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
~The Waste Land

I like looking at these two paintings next to one another. My style has not changed much. I would like to think I examine the subject more closely now, paint a little more carefully, and slow down, being more aware of each brush stroke. Evolution is lovely because it sneaks up on you, and before you know it, you look back on previous work and see that there has been progress, progress that was seamless, invisible and yet its effects evident everywhere you look. 

It is with great happiness that I note that my father is wearing his favorite sweater in each painting. Like the sweater itself, I find it comforting.

I am a painter of emotions, pure and simple. Each tree has a personality, in as much as you or I do. Each face that I paint is a landscape. They are connected. We rise and we fall, there are fires in the forest, fires within ourselves, and despite the painful times, there is a beauty and joy that makes it all worthwhile. That is what it means to be human, to be alive, to me. 

Have a beautiful weekend, whatever adventures you have in store.


"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."
~ Marcus Aurelius

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